Body copy links more important than main navigation for SEO

I don’t know if this happens to any other marketers, but lately I’ve been having real problems with clients Just. Not. Listening. Is my voice too high, is my face too young, are you just totally confuzled by this whole internet marketing thing?

Either way, no matter what, if you’re in this game long enough, a client is going to make sub-optimal decisions and stick to them. Then it’s your job to work around these not-great decisions to minimize their negative impact.

When the area of contention is getting qualified, non-branded keyterms in the main navigation — an area I fought for because I understood it was a big deal for on-page SEO — it turns out there may be a great workaround.

In the middle of trying to make everybody happy on a client’s main nav during a redesign, I read this SEOMoz article on search engines’ valuation of links.

It says that links in a page’s body copy carry more weight than links from navigation. That means I can let the client have a traditional, generic main navigation while giving important pages ideal anchor text in the body copy.

For this to work, however, the body copy has got to appear in the code and be read by Google before the main navigation. Luckily, this is ideal for other reasons, so no compromise there.

Besides the content thing, I learned that it’s important to not have an all-or-nothing attitude when you inevitably lose battles. If I’d gotten my way on the main nav, I wouldn’t have been open to learning about the importance of links in the body copy.

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